Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Numbers that Cuba Shelves

The Numbers that Cuba Shelves / Juan Juan Almeida
Posted on May 22, 2013

According to the newspaper Granma, Cuba is among the 16 countries that
have already reached the goal set by the World Food Summit in 1996,
halving the number of undernourished people in every country of the
world before 2015.

It is sad that Mr. José Graziano da Silva, director general of the
United Nations Organization for Food and Agriculture (FAO, for its
acronym in English), asserts that the credit has been possible thanks to
the priority given by the Cuban government to guaranteeing its people's
right to food and the policies implemented to achieve this objective.

Nonsense, but explainable. It's hard to see beyond the growth with its
perfection that aims to show a government that distorts all its data and
knows that for the vast majority of international organizations, the
world is reduced to numbers. We are numbers and calculations; very
dangerous arithmetic that some Cuban officials handle with excellence.
My country is a place of impunity reigned over by an impeccable
combination of politics and prostitution.

I don't want to go overboard citing old familiar tactics used by the
Cuban government to lobby and win votes in the different international
level forums. It makes no difference if it's the CDR, FMC, UNICEF, FAO,
HRC, EU, UNDP, OEI, CARICOM … Every acronym is handled the same,
national or international. When there are funds, nothing will be
impossible because in island politics you just have to wait and what is
won is lost and what is lost is won.

In the mid '90s, a young neonatologist who worked in the Ramón González
Coro OB-GYN Hospital in Havana Vedado, formerly the Sacred Heart clinic,
was among the many selected to be part of a commission that would study
what then was a TOP SECRET investigation.

Hiding a smile, and trying not to show her immense gratitude for such
reliability, the talented doctor went to work. And counting on the full
support of the Council of State itself, she thought that telling the
truth would be the seed of what with great passion she called "My

The hurried exploration found that the Cuban infant born underweight,
which later resulted in a considerable and irreversible decrease in size
of the Cuban child, which even scientifically established standards
considered "alarming."

For this study, which lasted some time, this multidisciplinary team
compiled a spreadsheet which took into account variables such as
maternal age, health status assessment to detect pregnancy, treatment
with nutritional supplements, weight gain in pregnancy , history of
curettage, etc.. All these data were extracted from the records of
pregnant women in doctors' offices, and in the various departments of
statistics for each local polyclinic.

The final report revealed that the factors associated with the preterm
birth of many Cuban infants weighing under 2,500 grams, are inadequate
nutrition of the future mother (this represented the highest percentage
of cases studied), anemia during pregnancy and an inadequate time
between births.

Since then, and as appropriate, the results were altered and the real
results were shelved under lock and key. And my friend, who left
medicine and has dedicated herself to painting, says that facial hair is
not the only thing that connects Cuban officials with the Taliban.

21 May 2013

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